1.  Child Safety Restraints
2.  Booster Seats
  1. Buckle Up Your Valentine
  2. CDC Study Reveals No Reduction in Child Passenger Deaths
  3. Grandparents! Buckle Those Kids!
  4. Safe Kids Teams Up With GM; Child Unintentional Injuries Drop
  5. Safe Kids Warns: Summer heat a danger to children in vehicles
  6. Safety Concerns A Mile High
  7. Safety Group Warns Parents to Supervise Children Around Vehicles
  8. Traffic Tech: Survey finds that children are being moved out of car seats and into adult seat belts too soon

CDC Study Reveals No Reduction in Child Passenger Deaths

No progress was made in reducing passenger deaths among 4-8 year-old children during 1994-98, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 500 children in this age group died each year in motor vehicles.

Only one-third were restrained, and only about half of those who died were riding in the back seat, which is the recommended seating position for children 12 years-old and younger.

In the recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC also reported that even though booster seats are recommended, they are seldom used. Only 4 to 6 percent of children 4-8 years old currently use them when riding in motor vehicles. Washington became the first state to require the use of booster seats for children who have outgrown their child safety seats (H&V/SR, April 10, 2000).

All states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have child passenger safety laws, but significant gaps in coverage exist for children in this age group, according to CDC. In 19 states, 4-8 year olds can ride unrestrained in the back seat. In most states, children as young as 4 years old can use an adult safety belt.

CDC believes reducing deaths among child passengers 4-8 years old will require "effective strategies" to promote booster seat use and placement of children in back seats. CDC and other groups are currently work on ways to encourage booster seat use and to increase the number of properly restrained children riding in the back seat.

For more information, contact Kyran Quinlan or Ann Dellinger, CDC, (770) 488-4652; e-mail kaq@cdc.gov

This document was last updated on June 8, 2000.

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Grandparents! Buckle Those Kids!

Are your children safe when they ride with their grandparents? An independent nationwide poll on child passenger safety reveals that 21 percent of grandparents - one in five - say they "never" use a child safety seat when they have their grandchildren as passengers. The poll, commissioned by automaker Nissan North America, Inc., was released in early September.

The poll brings to light the fact that child safety awareness is more than just a parent issue. Studies indicate more than 5 million grandparents in the United States serve as primary child care providers, usually for their working children. In fact, 40 percent of grandparents reported that their grandchildren rode with them an average of three or more times per month.

This makes the lack of safety seats particularly troubling. According to the National Highway traffic Safety Administration, properly installed child safety seats can reduce the risk of crash death by 69 percent for infants and 47 percent for toddlers.

An earlier child safety seat survey conducted by Nissan asked parents of children aged six and under about their safety seat use. Just 12 percent of parents said they never used a safety seat-still too many, but better than their elders.

"Many advances have been made in the car seat safety arena since grandparents, and even their own children, were little," says Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of SafetyBelt-SafeUSA. "That's why it's more important than ever for grandparents to be properly informed on child seat safety, in order to help safeguard today's children in the car."

This document was posted on January 6, 1999.

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Safe Kids Teams Up With GM; Child Unintentional Injuries Drop

Department of Transportation secretary Rodney Slater recently praised the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and General Motors for their efforts in informing consumers about the importance of using child safety seats and installing them properly.

"These new mobile car seat checkup vans will help improve highway safety by increasing the proper use of child safety seats, thus preventing highway injuries and deaths," Slater said. " This effort is a win for all involved-children, families, and the auto industry."

In April 1997, President Clinton set a goal to reduce child fatalities on the nation's highways by 15 percent by 2000. Efforts such as the checkup vans will help bring that goal one step closer, according to Slater.

"I applaud all our partners for their work in improving transportation safety, especially the child passenger safety technicians, volunteers, and law enforcement officers throughout the country who work every day to help ensure that children are buckled up," Slater concluded.

Safety Devices Reduce Child Injuries

The National SAFE KIDS Campaign recently released a report showing that safety devices, such as car seats, bicycle helmets, and smoke alarms have led to a 46 percent decline in the unintentional injury-related death rate among children aged 14 and under. Compared to 20 years ago, children are better protected from preventable injury due to better engineering, widespread education, and improving safety devices.

The report includes information on the evolution of safety devices such as the passage of safety legislation, increased affordability and usage, and important innovations in materials such as plastics.

"The most effective proven intervention to protecting kids is the use of these safety devices," said SAFE KIDS director Heather Paul. "Safety device distribution and education have always been a core part of our mission, and it's gratifying to see injury death rates have declined as a result."

Although vehicle usage and miles traveled have increased over the past 18 years, the motor vehicle occupant-related death rate has declined by 10 percent among children, according to SAFE KIDS. In the 1970's, car seats provided comfort for children but offered little or no protection. Today, seats must meet stringent crash test standards. If used correctly, they can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent for infants.

Despite modern advances, unintentional injury is still the top killer of children. However, according to SAFE KIDS, new technologies, education, and legislation will continue to evolve as the public regards family safety as a high priority.

This document was last updated on June 19, 2000.

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Safe Kids Warns: Summer Heat A Danger To Children in Vehicles

The National Safe Kids Campaign is partnering with the American Meteorological Society to warn parents and caregivers about the dangers children can encounter when playing in and around vehicles, especially during warm summer days.

At least 30 children died last year from heat stroke when they were trapped or left in parked cars, according to data from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety. In a recent survey, 10 percent of parents said they believed that it's acceptable for young children to be left in a vehicle unattended. Only 50 percent reported always locking their cars at home, and 20 percent rarely or never do so.

When the outside temperature is 93 degrees Fahrenheit, even with a window cracked the temperature within a car can reach 125 degrees within 20 minutes and 140 degrees in 40 minutes. In these extreme conditions, a child can quickly die or suffer permanent disability.

"Heat rapidly overwhelms the body's ability to regulate temperature," said Martin Eichelberger, M.D., trauma surgery director at Children's National Medical Center and president of Safe Kids. "In a closed environment, the body can go into shock, and circulation to vital organs will begin to fail."

More than one-third of the deaths in 1999 occurred when children crawled into unlocked cars while playing. Once children crawl in, they don't have the developmental capability to get out.

The Safe Kids Campaign has several tips to follow when temperatures are 80 degrees or higher in a vehicle:

  • keep cars locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway
  • teach children not to play around cars
  • never leave a child in an unattended car, even with the windows down
  • always make sure that all child passengers have left the car
  • if your child gets locked inside a car, get him out and dial 91 1 or your local emergency number.
  • check the temperature of the car seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining children
  • use a light covering to shade the seat of a parked car; consider using windshield shades

Trunks are particularly hazardous. Children can enter but can't always get out. Safe Kids warns:

  • keep the trunk locked at all times, especially when parked in the driveway or near the home
  • keep rear fold-down seats closed to prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car
  • put car keys out of children's reach and sight
  • be wary of child-resistant locks; teach older children how to disable the driver's door lock if they unintentionally become entrapped
  • contact an automobile dealership about getting your trunk retrofitted with a trunk release

For more information, contact the National Safe Kids Campaign, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004; website www.safekids.org.

This document was last updated on February 25, 2001.

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Safety Group Warns Parents to Supervise Children Around Vehicles

Kids 'N Cars is urging parents and caregivers to never leave children unattended in or around vehicles. At least 19 child deaths have occurred so far this year. In 2000, 54 children died.

"These tragic deaths are entirely preventable," said Janette Fennel of San Francisco, cofounder of Kids 'N Cars. "A car is not a toy, a car is not a playground, and a car is certainly not a babysitter."

Heat stroke is a primary concern in the summer, but children can also get into trouble around vehicles in other ways, including getting trapped in the trunk, putting the vehicle into motion, being inadvertently kidnapped by car thieves, or being backed over by adults who are driving the vehicle.

This year, six of the 19 deaths occurred when drivers did not see children behind the car and backed over them.

According to Diane Winn, a University of California-Irvine researcher, "Surprisingly, our study shows that young children are at greater risk in private driveways and parking lots than they are as occupants of motor vehicles."

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